The action of a town conferring upon a unit, ‘Freedom of entry with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating, bands playing, and colours flying', dates from the time when fortress walls were necessary to protect the inhabitants of the town from the incursions of outlaw bands and the attacks of feudal lords. Bodies of armed men were refused entry to the town unless the citizens were confident they meant no harm.
Thus, the granting of permission for a formed body of armed men to enter a town became a mark of the trust and confidence in which that body was held by the residents of that town. Today, it is the highest honour that a city, borough, or town can bestow on the Royal Navy or one of Her Majesty's Ships.
On 24th April 2010 a ceremony will be held to mark the granting of Freedom of Entry to the Town of Ramsey, by the Ramsey Town Commissioners, to the Commanding Officer and Crew of HMS RAMSEY.
At 10:40am The ships company will march from Market Square to the Town Hall where an illuminated scroll will be presented to the Commanding Officer of HMS RAMSEY by Chairman of the Commissioners Mrs Sylvia Beattie JP.
At the conclusion of the ceremony the crew will parade down Parliament Street with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, colours flying and drums beating in exercise of the privilege bestowed upon them.
A programme for the ceremony can be downloaded here.